Tiki Terrace in Des Plaines, IL was Sarah, my and her birthday dinner compadre’s latest find. I had a hard time finding the place because it’s smashed in between a few stores, not facing the street, and has no sign other than above the small store front. Upon entering we were hit with a sudden Hawaiian decor. To our left, a stage with giant stone belly-heavy mongrels guarding the center with dried palm-grass holding up bongo’s and ceramic watering pots. To the right, the bar decked to a T with more dried palm grass, lei’s, flowers, and of course everywhere you looked there was a pile of drink umbrellas. Past the bar were more identical giant stone statue’s jutting from the wall with the biggest noses I have ever seen. The music topped off the immediate chillax atmosphere with Israel “IZ” Kaʻanoʻi Kamakawiwoʻole’s “Somewhere over the Rainbow.”
This month is $4 Mai Tai specials. They come in hilariously funny glasses like “Tito,” pictured below, Sarah’s birthday mascot. It was like Hawaiian punch in a glass with not even a hint of alcohol flavor. They were strong though, one is enough. The best part, besides the cherry on top, is it comes with one of those distinct drink umbrellas that put your mind instantly in the sun and lying on a beach.
While we’re still on drinks, Sarah and I started with the Martiki-Tini’s before the rest of her crew arrived. Sarah ordered the Vanilla Ginger Martini which was quite delicious. It initiated with the same pungency of vanilla syrup as vanilla coke used to have with that rich ginger coming out to your taste buds shortly after. I ordered the Waikiki Beachcomber which was a sweet drink for a martini with a cherry at the bottom. I’d purchase it again, but it almost seemed as though the pale yellow juice was there only to mask the aftershock of alcohol.
Onto the meals. Everyone else raved over the appetizers of calamari, chicken wings, and taro chips with fresh pineapple dip. Sarah and I are dinner friends simply because we have the same exact taste buds and eat the same types of food, i.e. vegetarians, so we flip-flopped our food and tried each others. She ordered the Aloha Tofu. The tofu was grilled into thin triangles and smothered in a sweet teriyaki glaze and layered over a bed of tomatoes and onions with a large ball of rice on the side of the plate. It was so good Sarah only gave me a bite. The Ka’anapali Vegetable Pasta sounded delish because it had red chili-garlic mixed with fettuccine sauce, so I ordered it. It came with a King’s Hawaiian bread roll, which if you’ve ever tried one, you know they are un-pass-up-able. The pasta itself was thick, not to my liking because I am an angel hair pasta fan, but worked to hold the sauce and vegetables together. It was hard to twirl around my fork though. The sauce was as good as I thought it would be. Just the right amount of spice evened out by the fettuccine, olive oil, and vegetables such as broccoli and sugar snap peas. The olive oil made it a little oily, and I had to wipe my mouth often. It would probably be a better pasta with a protein included like chicken or tofu. Everyone else fully enjoyed their meals, and we are considering trying the restaurant out again on a night that they have dinner and a show.
For dessert, they had this coconut cake and pineapple ice cream. The cake was so light that I could have eaten the whole thing by myself, and I was only tasting someone else’s. It was a white cake base surrounded by a whipped frosting and topped with sweetened coconut flakes. The pineapple ice cream was drizzled with a thick sweet golden syrup and lit up my taste buds with each bite.
The weekday was pretty dead and they were out of a lot of their signature dishes. Belly dancing shows. Enough said.